Asymptomatic Covid community testing could be rolled out in Sussex

The number of people in West Sussex confirmed as having Covid-19 is falling but the figures are still as high as they were in November.
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The news was shared during a meeting of the county council’s cabinet on Tuesday (February 23) where members were told there had been 762 new cases between February 11 and 17.

This equates to 88.2 cases per 100,000 population.

This was quite a drop when compared to the previous seven days when there were 1,117 new cases, dropping from 1,384 in the week up to February 6.

An example of rapid Covid testingAn example of rapid Covid testing
An example of rapid Covid testing
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Crawley had the highest number of cases per 100,000 (136.1/100,000 – 153 new cases) with Arun not far behind (135/100,000 – 217 new cases), while Horsham had the lowest (48.7/100,000 – 70 new cases).

In Chichester, the figures were 80.1/100,000 (97 new cases), in Worthing they were 75.1/100,000 (83 new cases), in Mid Sussex they were 71.5/100,000 (108 new cases), and in Adur they were 52.9/100,000 (34 new cases).

As of Monday (February 22), there have been 39,599 cases so far in West Sussex.

Dr Tony Hill, interim director of public health, said: “We’ve seen a significant fall both in positive cases and in the consequences of those positive cases throughout the county over the last couple of weeks.”

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Dr Hill said the data suggested the fall was continuing by about 1/3 every week.

On top of this, he reported that the number of tests coming back positive dropped significantly from one-in-four to one-in-20.

Amanda Jupp, cabinet member for adults & health, told the meeting that details of a pan-Sussex asymptomatic community testing programme had been submitted to the Department of Health & Social Care for approval.

Involving West Sussex, East Sussex and Brighton & Hove, it will be used to identify people who have the virus but without any of the symptoms.

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It is hoped the programme will roll out in the next couple of weeks.

While there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to moving out of the pandemic and getting back to something close to normal, for some, things will never be the same.

There have been 1,625 Covid-related deaths in the county since the start of the pandemic – 68 between February 6 and 12.

Of those 68, 19 were people living in care homes.

The total number of Covid-related deaths in care homes stands at 630 since the start of the pandemic.

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Dr Hill told the meeting that there were still a ‘significant’number of people in hospital – including intensive care – but the figure was falling day-by-day.

As for the vaccination programme, he said around 500,000 people had received their first jab.

These included around two-thirds of 65-69-year-olds, even though their part of the roll-out only started a week ago.

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